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US nonfarm payroll employment rose by 175,000 in February, and
the unemployment rate, at 6.7%, changed little according to the US Bureau of
Labor Statistics (BLS) on Friday. Employment increased in professional and business services and
in wholesale trade but fell in the information industry. The broad rate of
unemployment including discouraged workers was 12.6% (see below).
Incorporating the revisions for December and January, which
increased nonfarm employment by 25,000 on net, monthly job gains
have averaged 129,000 over the past 3 months. In the 12 months
prior to February, employment growth averaged 189,000 per month.
Employment in professional and business services rose by
79,000 in February. Within the industry, accounting and
bookkeeping services added 16,000 jobs. Employment continued to
trend up in temporary help services (+24,000) and in services to
buildings and dwellings (+11,000).
In February, wholesale trade employment increased by
15,000, mostly in durable goods. Over the prior 12 months,
wholesale trade added an average of 9,000 jobs per month.
Within leisure and hospitality, employment in food services
and drinking places continued to trend up in February (+21,000).
Over the prior 12 months, food services and drinking places
added an average of 27,000 jobs per month.
Construction employment changed little in February
(+15,000). Within construction, employment in heavy and civil
engineering increased by 12,000 over the month.
Health care employment changed little in February (+10,000)
and has shown little movement since November. Within the
industry, offices of physicians added 8,000 jobs in February.
Employment in hospitals changed little over the month but is
down by 10,000 since November.
Employment in the information industry decreased by 16,000
in February, reflecting a decline in motion picture and sound
recording (-14,000). Employment in the motion picture industry
can be volatile from month to month.
Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm
payrolls rose by 9 cents in February. Over the past 12 months,
average hourly earnings have risen by 52 cents, or 2.2%.
From January 2013 to January 2014, the Consumer Price Index for
All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose by 1.6%.
Turning now to the BLS survey of households, both the
unemployment rate, at 6.7%, and the number of unemployed
persons, at 10.5m, were little changed in February. The
number of unemployed persons who had been jobless for 27 weeks
or more rose to 3.8m, or 37% of the unemployed.
The labour force participation rate was unchanged at 63.0% in February. Over the year, the
participation rate has declined by 0.5 percentage point.
The employment-population ratio, at 58.8%, was
unchanged in February and has shown little movement, on net,
over the past 12 months.
Among persons who were neither working nor looking for work
in February, 2.3m were classified as marginally attached
to the labour force, down by 285,000 from a year earlier. These
individuals had not looked for work in the 4 weeks prior to the
survey but wanted a job, were available for work, and had looked
for a job within the last 12 months. The number of discouraged
workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that
no jobs were available for them, was 755,000 in February, down
by 130,000 from a year earlier.
Severe winter weather occurred in much of the country
during the February reference periods for the establishment and
In summary, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 175,000
in February, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.7%.
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